Homelessness is costing Bexley taxpayers more than 200 per cent than it was five years ago, exclusive new figures show.

It comes as the number of households living in temporary accommodation surges year on year.

An investigation by the LDR service shows that the capital’s housing crisis is costing the authority huge amounts.

Last year alone, the council pumped £8.9m into combating homelessness, up 242 per cent from £2.6m in 2015/16.

In figures released through the Freedom of Information act, it is also revealed that there were 1,381 families in temporary accommodation at the end of last year.

The figures show a year on year increase, and a big surge from 828 in 2016.

The number of rough sleepers in the borough remains low, and dropped last year from 16 to five.

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In response to the figures, the council said it is dealing with a housing crisis that is gripping much of the capital.

A spokesman said: The council has seen a significant rise in the number of homeless households in temporary accommodation and the costs associated with this.

“This is due to low levels of permanent affordable social rented housing compared to increasing demand.

“The cost pressures have also been exacerbated by low levels of supply in the market for temporary accommodation, which has driven up the cost.”

Last year no affordable homes were built in Bexley, which was criticised by opposition councillors when reviewing the authorities budget earlier this year.

The council said there are regeneration schemes in the pipeline that will help supply new homes.

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“In addition to this increase in supply we are also taking the following action to reduce the numbers and the cost of temporary accommodation”, a spokesman said.

The council plans to spend £5m on buying homes to be used alongside 700 temporary accommodation properties already on its books. 

It has also joined up with other south east London boroughs to commission a charity run service working with potential rough sleepers.   

The spokesman said: “We have recently joined forces with 13 other London Boroughs to establish a joint company called ‘Capital Letters’. This will allow us to procure additional affordable private rented properties on behalf of Bexley and the other participating boroughs.

“We face the same difficult housing challenges as the rest of London and we are working hard to develop initiatives like these to mitigate our future temporary accommodation costs and to help address housing pressures for local people.”